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Android apps to survive SXSW 2011

by Kristen Nicole

It’s that time of year again: Spring break. For nerds. SXSW has become synonymous with the season, presenting the world of media arts an opportunity to relax, get to know each other, and party like there’s no tomorrow. Whether you’re headed to Austin for the geek or game show, film or music, SXSW is a sampling of culture and convention in its own right. It’s also a great chance to get to know your phone better. These Android apps will keep you sane in the midst of springtime madness, orienting your schedule, social interactions and more.

Since Appolicious loves helping people discover the best Android apps, we are sponsoring the Team Android Choice Award - Best Android App SXSW 2011. The show starts at the Android and Me Team Android party on March 13th at 7:30 p.m., with each app getting two minutes to pitch their app to a 'packed house of elite Android nerds' who will vote live to pick a winner.

Organized chaos

SXSW Go is the official app of the conference, with interactive schedules of panels, presentations and parties. Stay updated with the SXSW feed, add events to your schedule, and get all the details you need for artists, speakers and companies. This free Android app is a lot more useful than those bulky maps they stuff down your badges.

Austin is a great city to explore, if you can tear yourself away from the convention center and its handful of surrounding eateries. WHERE can jump start your gastro-adventure, searching and recommending restaurants throughout the city. The recently updated Android app will consider your taste buds and your friends’, so you can pick a local meet-up spot that complements both pallets.

I’m guessing you’ve already booked your boarding, but every year I come across someone in need of a room. For those people, there’s the free Orbitz app. It searches and locates nearby hotel discounts, keeping you within your SXSW budget. And if your budget is of true concern, you’ll likely need a rental car to cart you back downtown. Orbitz can help with that, too.

There’s nothing more chaotic than the social scene at SXSW. Make a good impression by buying colleagues and potential business partners a drink, or even lunch. To keep things simple, the TabbedOut app lets you pay for the bill, monitors your transactions, and keeps your credit card safely in your wallet. The free Android app helps you split the bill, too.

Related: Great business apps for Android users

Location wars

Twitter started a mobile revolution at SXSW, so it’s only fitting that you’d arm yourself with this convenient microblogging app. It’s a chance to figuratively and literally follow your favorite Twitter rock stars, and not feel badly about your stalker tendencies. Stay updated with trending events, flash parties and promotions, as well as friends. This Android app is free.

Foursquare became a smash hit at SXSW, and its social gaming take on location-awareness has popularized this free Android app. Any brand running SXSW campaigns will have a Foursquare tie-in, so this is an extremely handy app to have during the conference. You can also use it to search for nearby necessities, like Walgreens (trust me on this one).

Gowalla has thrown its hat into the ring, with its own take on location-awareness. Search locally, check-in to various locations, earn badges and rewards. Gowalla will have plenty of promos at SXSW as well. Updated earlier this week, the free app is more social than ever, with reviews, photos and tips for nearby venues.

Work time

You’re going to meet people every few minutes at SXSW, so let your Android keep track of all your new contacts. Bump is a free app that lets you share contact information by simply bumping your phone with another, even if they’re an iPhone snob. The Bump app is also useful for sharing things with existing friends, like photos and mobile applications.

Hashable has entered the scene just in time for SXSW, with some tools specific for business networking. Exchange contact info with new friends, and create a relationship “diary” of your follow-up interactions. You can check-in with them, tag your location and dynamically capture these interactions. You can also use this free app to make introductions between others.

If you’re blogging from SXSW, the WordPress app is a necessity (if you’re an existing user). The recently updated Android app offers mobile access for quick posts, including text and photos. You’ll also be able to make quick edits to published articles, without having to pull out your laptop or search for a Wi-Fi signal.

Download the free Appolicious Android app